Αlong with semen analysis – which is the first step in the investigation of male fertility – the presence of microorganisms in the semen sample should also be tested because it affects the fertility of the couple. There are many categories of microorganisms such as aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, which also include mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas. Chlamydia are also bacteria, which live inside the cell and it is not possible to detect them with the conventional methods.
Apart from bacteria, a semen sample can also have intracellular pathogens, that affect fertility. Intracellular pathogens are viruses such as the wart virus – HPV, the herpes virus – HSV and the cytomegalovirus – CMV.
No single laboratory method can detect all microorganisms, so there are different tests used depending on the pathogen under investigation. The appropriate detection method for each pathogen is the only way for the laboratory result to provide useful information to the clinician.
The microorganisms, that might be present in one partner of a couple, are transferred to the other partner through sexual intercourse and this has its impact on fertility.
- In men, the presence of microorganisms is sometimes symptomatic but it can also cause prostatitis, epididymitis, urethritis or orchitis. In some cases an increased number of white blood cells appears in the semen sample. The presence of white blood cells can be indicative of the presence of microorganisms, but there is not a definite association between the presence of white blood cells and the microorganisms.
- In women the presence of microorganisms may be responsible for vaginitis, cervicitis or tubulitis. Bacteria are tested in women by culturing a vaginal or cervical specimen. Specifically for Chlamydia testing, however, it is recommended to test the cervical sample with a specialized method such as PCR or SPI Test ™, which show greater specificity and sensitivity. However, chlamydia or other pathogenic microorganisms can be hidden in the upper parts of the female genital tract and their detection in this case is possible only with the HIDDEN-C® test, a specific test that uses the blood (tissue) of the period for the detection of chlamydia as well as other categories of bacteria, such as mycoplasma or ureaplasma, and viruses, such as herpes (HSV1, HSV 2) or cytomegalovirus.
Methods for the detection of microorganisms
Detection of HPV, HSV, CMV viruses
Aerobic – Anaerobic Microorganisms